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Bluebook 101

Basic information for getting started with The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation

Printed Formats

Purchase: Buy the 21st edition online or from the bookstore. 

Rent: You can rent the 21st edition online, have it shipped to you, and ship it back at the end of the rental period (typically the end of the term).

Borrow: The library should have current copies of the Bluebook available at the Information Desk for checkout.


Bluebook Online

The Bluebook Online: The current 21st edition of The Bluebook is available online from the publisher's website. The online version gives you access for a year, with a reduced annual renewal price. You can search it and create bookmarks and annotations.






Rulebook App



Rulebook App: You can also purchase a license to The Bluebook from within the Rulebook iPad app. In October, 2020, this app was updated to use the 21st edition of The Bluebook. Reference librarian Mary Whisner wrote a review of this app when it was first released.


Formats Compared

The version of The Bluebook you choose depends on your budget and your work preferences. You can use the following chart to compare the differences.


Purchase Print

Rent Print



Library Copy


21st 21st 21st 21st 21st


~$38 ~$35

$39 for 1st year, cheaper if you buy 3 years at once. Renewal of $20 each year.

$39 Free (to you)

TOC, Index

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes


Yes Not if you want to return it Yes Yes No


Yes Not if you want to return it No Yes No


Only by flipping and skimming Only by flipping and skimming Yes Yes Only by flipping and skimming


1 lb. 1 lb. On web On device Library use only (4 hrs for law students)

How long can you keep it?

Forever End of semester/quarter As long as you renew the license ?? Library use only (4 hrs for law students)